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USAC San Ramón Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


San Ramón, Costa Rica




2.5 GPA, One year college Biology with laboratory for Life & Health Science Studies

Application Due:

9/24 for spring
2/24 for fall
3/4 for summer
late applicants are accepted on a space-available basis

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This program is not being offered by USAC for Summer 2021

The Life and Health Sciences, Spanish Language and Culture Studies Program has a minimum prerequisite of one year of college biology and is designed for science majors interested in learning more about ecology and conservation biology in Costa Rica. The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) of which the University of Iowa is a member, and enrolls approximately 30 students from various U.S. colleges and universities. The program offers English taught courses in tropical ecology, tropical marine biology, conversation biology, and environmental policy. Some classes have a related field study course that provides hands on experience in the subject. Students combine the science curriculum with Spanish language or literature classes designed by Tracks according to level. Students will expand their Spanish language skills through classroom study and personal interaction with the host culture in the homestay setting. The program offers a one week optional tour to northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua, or to southern Costa Rica and Bocas del Toro in Panama, depending on the session. UI students earn resident credit on this program.

Academic Program


English-taught courses in the life sciences require one year of college biology with lab. Spanish language study according to tracks allows completing two semesters of college Spanish in one semester. All courses are taught exclusively for program participants by local Costa Rican faculty, with the exception of one or two courses offered each semester by a visiting U.S. faculty member from one of the USAC consortium institutions. Classroom space is at the local branch campus of the Universidad de Costa Rica. UI students earn resident credit on this program, and typically earn between 12 sh – 18 sh depending on the classes selected.

Certain courses satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor.
Courses may be applied towards science major requirements pending review and approval by the major department.


The program offers some Saturday excursions in each session, as well as an optional five day tour to southern Costa Rica.

Depending on class selection, credit may be applied toward the following General Education Areas: [Foreign Language, Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science without laboratory] [Foreign Language, Natural Science without laboratory.]
Certain courses satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor.
Courses may be applied towards science major requirements pending review and approval by the major department.

Program Dates

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

The University of Costa Rica

The University of Costa Rica, located in San José, was founded in 1941 and is the most prestigious in the country. The Sede de Occidente or branch campus of the west, located in San Ramón, has an enrollment of 8000 students.

San Ramon

A primarily agricultural town of 30,000, San Ramon is situated half-way between the capital city of San Jose and Puntarenas on the Pacific coast, less than an hour away from each. It is located in the Central Valley against a dramatic backdrop of mountains. Manuel Brenes, one of the riches forest preserves in Costa Rica, lies just outside the city.

Costa Rica

The geography of Costa Rica displays a stunning panorama of nature, which includes the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean coasts, mountains that soar to 12,000 feet, lush rain forests and active volcanoes. Enlightened Costa Rica has been a forerunner in the development of national parks and in the preservation of wildlife.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements


USAC arranges home stay lodging. The families are located within easy commuting distance to the university. The semester program fee includes room and three meals daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner.


USAC arranges home stay lodging. The families are located within easy commuting distance to the university. Room is included in the program fee. For an additional cost, students can also choose to be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Travel Arrangements

Once accepted to the program, the USAC central office will provide information about the travel agency organizing program group flights.


One year of general biology with lab at the college level; 2.5 g.p.a. or endorsement of academic advisors.




How to Apply

Before starting an online application for this program, students should meet with their study abroad advisor to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353.

After meeting with your advisor, click here to apply.

Application Deadline

Application deadlines are September 20 for spring, February 20 for fall or academic year, and March 4 for summer. Late applications may be accepted on a space available basis.

Upon acceptance, students will receive Pre-departure information directly from the program’s central office.

All students attend a general TIPS orientation for UI Students Studying Abroad. Additional small group meetings address specific topics, as well as billing and credit procedures at Iowa.

There are no photos available for this program yet. Do you have any photos to share with us? If you do, please contact us at:

1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343